Smart locks make agencies, service providers and rental platforms competitive: Assa Abloy

Smart locks make agencies, service providers and rental platforms competitive: Assa Abloy
New market forecasts predict continued strong growth in the European holiday rental market. The data hint at ways global providers can ensure their short-term rental portfolio stays ahead of the competition. According to SAC Insight’s research, the European holiday rentals market will worth €32.5bn by 2023 with a compound annual growth (CAGR) forecasted at 5.8%.

For the segment incorporating agencies and other booking platforms, the numbers are equally encouraging. SAC Insight expects European revenue in the agent market to grow from €14.55bn in 2016 to €20.93bn at 2023. Estimated CAGR is 5.1%, a healthy rate for holiday rentals agencies and the blossoming service ecosystem that surrounds them.

Considering different scales of rental businesses, small providers can use deep local knowledge to ensure properties stay on the right side of local regulations, for example, ensuring guests a hassle-free stay. This will be critical for agencies targeting business travellers seeking short-term, city-centre rentals.

More data from SAC Insight point towards faster growth in online revenue, at 9.8% annually, versus 3.8% for offline booking. Small-scale landlords cannot match global brands for SEO or advertising spend, so the importance of online reviews and positive word-of-mouth marketing will grow.

In other words, target customer satisfaction. This is where a smart door lock provides concrete assistance — and potentially, a competitive advantage.

Competitiveness means less hassle around

For modern travellers, the smartphone is a remote control for any trip. It’s a boarding pass, a credit card, as well as a travel guide. Why not a digital key, too? The technology is already available and affordable for rental booking agencies and the property owners they represent. With smart door locks, owners spend less time managing physical keys, and eliminate the risk of lost or stolen keys, and unauthorised copying. If every smart door lock in the portfolio connects to a single system or app, managing multiple properties is easier.

Key handling is a big worry for guests as well. With a smart door lock, they will never get locked out. A PIN code or smartphone app opens the front door, so there’s no need to carry keys or worry about losing them. With a smart door lock, it’s easy for everyone in a group to come and go as they please, because each guest can have their own temporary key.

In Italy, boutique agency Home at Hotel has already reaped the benefits of installing Yale ENTR locks on urban holiday rentals in Milan, Rome and Cagliari, using SCLAK app-powered access system. Multiple services are integrated easily in one system, including breakfast delivery, grocery shopping and extra cleaning on demand. It’s straightforward for agency staff to open doors remotely to admit a cleaner or cook, for example.

“No longer are apartment keys running around with the risk of being lost or copied,” says Francesco Postiglioni from Home at Hotel. “We can see when a guest has left the flat and can inhibit access if they do not respect the rules. We also have full control over our service suppliers, with the exact time they spend in the flat and when an apartment is ready for the next guest.”

“Smarter locks make more satisfied guests, which in turn means more return visits and better online reviews for our clients in the holiday rentals business,” confirms Omer Sagi, Smart Door Lock Business Development Director at ASSA ABLOY.

Get more business from business

Looking forward, there are opportunities in short-term rentals for business travel. A smart door lock is one simple way for an agency to enable round-the-clock check-in and check-out, without creating extra work or incurring added staff costs.

Business travel will remain a major growth area for Airbnb and the service provider ecosystem around. Professional touches such as a smart door lock will help small and medium-sized agencies to grab a slice of this booming market for themselves.

With a smart door lock, rental agencies can charge a premium, and still expect the convenience benefits to be reflected in customer satisfaction, positive word-of-mouth, return visits and favourable online reviews.
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